Searching gourmets flee from ambienceHowdy Beaver
April 25, 2002
Searching gourmets flee from ambience
We took a short trip around the south and middle of Montana last week. We visited Butte, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Big Sky, Helena and Great Falls.
In Butte we went in search of good Italian food and that special Butte atmosphere. We got plenty of atmosphere but had a hard time finding any authentic Butte Italian food. In fact we tried two places that specialize in Italian cooking in downtown Butte and the food was terrible. So, in search of better, we took our mother and stepfather into the M&M whose food is supposed to be great. They took one look at the M&M clientele and rushed out the door, almost screaming at us all the way back to the car.
That next day in Helena we were telling an elderly relative about Butte's bad food. She said, "You should have had me along. I know where to eat in downtown Butte. Did you try the M&M?" So much for Butte cooking.
We had not gone to West Yellowstone for years and wow, how it has grown. It was awesome. Made us wonder if West Glacier will ever be like that or whether we in northern Montana live in such a different mode that we will never see a West Yellowstone in this part of Montana. The town is just filled with large hotels and motels along with convention centers and snowmobiles. Awesome.
Even more awesome was Big Sky. We had not been there since they were building it and let us tell you that Mountain Village is something out of another world. There must be billions and billions of dollars spent there in building a world class resort with ski lifts that go all the way to the top of Lone Mountain, elevation 11,500 feet. We just could not get over that. The architecture there is unbelievable too. Huntley Lodge is like entering an underground cavern, all rock and fireplaces and more rock. We had never seen anything like it. We will go back. Didn't stay there though. They had a cabin for us for one night. There were three reasons not to stay in that cabin. First, they did not take dogs and we don't travel without one. Second, we would have had to ski into and out of the cabin and third, it cost $510.00 a night. We told the clerk at the Huntley that Chet Huntley had come from Saco. He said he knew and that fact doesn't change the price. We stayed in Belgrade that night.
The next day we toured the Capitol in Helena and raved as so many others have about the beautiful job that has been done to restore and refurbish that wonderful building. Montana does not have to play second fiddle to anyone when it comes to a beautiful capitol building.
Later that night we ate dinner with the oldest Chickadee and his family at a new buffet in Great Falls. Called the Golden Corral, it was in its own way as awesome as Big Sky. Never have we seen so many people eating so much wonderful food. Food from everywhere and served buffet style. That's one place we are going back to soon.
It was a good trip. We saw lots of loved ones along the way and lots of wonderful Montana scenery. However, Saturday morning as we pulled out of Choteau with winds gusting to 50 mph we were glad to be going over the big divide to more clouds but much less wind.